In order to stop bullies we have to understand what drives their behaviour.
In order to stop bullies we have to understand what drives their behaviour.
As therapist, in both my private client work, and in my work with young people in schools and universities, I am increasingly feeling like the boy with his finger in the dyke, trying to stop the tidal wave of mental annihilation destroying our young people. The tsunami is already washing over us, and I’m trying desperately to keep my head above the rising water and save some souls ……but I fear I’m drowning!
I am discovering that a major factor responsible for endangering our young people’s mental health is their increasing dependence on external validation for their self-worth, which results in them developing an external locus of control and evaluation, leading to mental health issues, which include social and general anxiety, depression and narcissistic personality disorder.
The conditions required for a mentally healthy, fully functioning & self- actualising person, demand an internal locus of evaluation and control, resulting in self-efficacy, self-esteem,being able to recognise personal strengths, (worryingly many children and young people are unable to state one positive personal quality, or identify something they are good at), and the ability to validate oneself, independent of influence from others.
Our culture’s current values run counter to this and actively encourages this external addiction.These conditions stunt the psychological development of today’s adolescents.
Some of the factors that I believe are responsible for this crisis of ‘self’ we are seeing in our young people:
I was completely unaware as to the protocol of F.B, until a young client of mine recently presented at her therapy session as extremely distressed, due to not gaining many ‘likes’ for a photo she’d posted on social media. She explained the ‘rules’. If someone ‘likes’ your photo you have to ‘like’ theirs back. I tried not to show how stunned and perplexed I felt, and opened a useful discussion as to what drives the need to accumulate ‘likes’, and what value they hold if they come from obligation rather than free will?
Young people are committing their time to seeking out ‘likes’, and building ‘followers’ on social media, from people they don’t know, to validate their own existence. The irony is that it’s all a smoke and mirrors, an illusion.
As if that wasn’t enough, my children shared with me that you can buy ‘likes’ on the internet!! (You can get 5,000 for 84.99!) With seductive headings:
· ‘astonish your friends by your popularity!’
· Become famous today! Get Real Views.Get Real Comments The best way to get more Insta Followers & Likes.
· Grow Your Social Presence Quickly As low as $4.99
2. COMPARING & JUDGEMENT
Our young people are encouraged to compare and judge themselves, and each other, against the edited and airbrushed ‘selfies’ on F.B.This ‘selfie’ epidemic intensifies and optimises the enhanced attention that they give to themselves.
I was aghast to discover that there is even a make-up product called ‘selfie powder’, which is promoted for use when taking ‘selfies’: An ultra-soft powder that magically transforms skin to look poreless & pixel perfect? Yes please! The WUNDER2 PERFECT SELFIE HD Photo Finishing Powder, creates the ultimate finish to your makeup look, without the use of a photo filter. Your finished makeup look will appear poreless, free of fine-lines and smooth without camera flashback.
The media also exert influence, by portraying photo shopped pictures of ‘perfect’ people living enviable lives, which fuels a sense of ‘not being good enough’, worthlessness and failure. Marketers exploit these vulnerabilities, maximising on and leveraging the pain, by feeding on the increasing sense of inadequacy and insecurity, controlling and manipulating consumers into buying into the illusion that their products will bring the happiness they seek. They never do…….and the destructive cycle continues.
Our society is encouraging the practice of judgement and comparing, even in school children are assessed on their performance against a set of rigid academic, left brain criteria, that do not acknowledge personal successes or strength of character, and instead compares children to each other, which does not allow for everyone’s uniqueness and difference. Only excellent outcomes are given validation, and rational thinking is applauded, meaning emotions are often excluded.
In this increasingly demanding society, our youth are being pressured to conform, morphing and shape shifting to feel accepted and to fit in, lured into becoming part of the homogeneous masses, conditioned and influenced from the cradle to the grave. Groomed in how they should be thinking, doing and being, and what they should be buying, having and coveting.
This lifestyle is creating depressed young people and rising mental illness, stress and anxiety, as a result of trying to live up to these unrealistic expectations.
This materialistic and consumerist led society, gives ‘net worth’ more importance than ‘self-worth’, the focus increasingly on what you ‘have’, rather than who you ‘are’. Individuals are evaluated on how they present externally, rather than on innate personal qualities, resulting in young people who are lacking in:
This means they are more at risk of being influenced by others, seeking solace in illegal substances, finding release in anti-social, unhealthy, and destructive behaviours e.g. gang affiliations, substance abuse & addictions, self-harming and anti-social acts.
The Netflix series ‘Black Mirror’ shines a light on the challenges ahead for the human race, giving a chilling glimpse into the future landscape, but what is most terrifying is that future is happening NOW.
As a society we have a responsibility to equip adolescents with all the important skills for life and living. We need to aim to keep them engaged and connected, and with a sense of purpose and meaning, a sense of self, so they know WHO THEY ARE, independent of others.
We need to invest in their mental health to create resilient, confident, resourceful, independent and creative thinking young adults who will be our future.
We can start by challenging the culture we live in-social media, education, and marketers, that indoctrinate our children into believing they are less than they are, for their own gain, and explore with our children what’s important to them, encouraging them, and supporting them, in connecting with themselves, and creating their own personal code. This is the way to mitigate the negative effects of our fast moving, modern world.
I can’t stress enough how qualities such as Empathy, will be more important than academic skills in this unfolding, unfamiliar and ever changing, new world.The irony is, that there are already ‘Empathy robots’ in call centres, that advise human employees how to manage irate customers!! How have we come to this?
If you want to develop the skills you’ll need to thrive, then book an E.Q coaching session with me, to discover the incredible benefits of so called ‘soft skills’.
I work with clients all over the globe….this is one of the benefits of technology!!
One of the biggest battles of the 21st century is with our emotions.
Addictions, crime, mental illness, depression, anxiety and burnout are all to do with ‘feelings or emotions’.
What kind of a relationship do you have with your emotions?
If any of these experiences are unfamiliar, your emotions may be turned down or turned off. In order to be emotionally healthy and emotionally intelligent, you must reconnect to your core emotions, accept them, and become comfortable with them.
Listen to a podcast I was interviewed for, by the lovely Vikki Kelly from ‘The Wellness Couch’, talking about my favourite topic-teaching children Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence!
Are you too busy, being busy, to make a life? Do you feel like your days are a race against the clock, navigating your way through with a never ending ‘To Do’ list (where are you on that list)? Constantly rushing but getting nowhere, running to stand still? Do you crave some ‘Me-Time’? Collapsing at the end of the day, relieved to have made it through, saying:
‘Is it Wine Time Yet?!’
Women are raised to put the needs of others first. Being the ‘Good Girl’ -hard wired to nurture, take care of everyone else, not good at prioritising their own needs (even they even have the time to find out what those are!) over committing – dependant on the approval of others-saying ‘Yes’ when she wants to scream ‘No’.
We have a problem—and the odd thing is we not only know about it, we’re celebrating it. Just this week, someone boasted to me that she was so busy she’d averaged four hours of sleep a night for the last two weeks. Busyness has become a badge of honour. We brag about being busy: it’s code for being successful and important
WHAT’S THE PAY OFF FROM BEING SO BUSY?
What beliefs have you adopted/developed around being a woman?
Which ones disempower you or hold you back/ keep you in behaviours that have a negative effect on you?
What did your own mum role model regarding being a woman? What messages did you receive?
What ‘rules’ about what you are supposed to do are creating your over stuffed schedule?
‘Cost’ Of Being Busy?
Constantly ‘Busy’ leads to stress, so long term physical or mental health at risk. Needs not being met-leads to depression.
A study last year revealed 77% of working women avoid going to the doctor due to lack of time. If you never have enough time to do anything it is not because you do not have enough time, it is because you have not made enough space.
This is not a ‘time’ issue, it’s a priorities issue. You have given importance to too many things, and not enough to priority to the things you value. How you are choosing to spend your time is the issue.
List the ways in which you squander time-create a breakdown of how you spend 24 hours e.g. How many times a day do you check your ‘Smartphone’? It’s estimated that an average user checks their phone 150 times per day. Hours spent on FB? Checking e-mail?
WHAT ARE YOU CHOOSING OVER ‘YOURSELF’? WHAT ARE YOU GIVING IMPORTANCE TO ‘V’ WHAT DO YOU VALUE?
I facilitated a group workshop yesterday, for children and their parents in Auckland, with many ideas that are reflected…
I’ve always felt ‘different’, weird, that I never ‘fit’ anywhere, but from an early age I made a decision to use that to my advantage, and enjoy the benefits of feeling like a misfit. There are many. You don’t have to conform or follow others’ should’s/ have to’s/ can’t’s, because you don’t fit people don’t know how you ‘should’ behave, or what ‘box’ you belong in.
You’re never IN with the IN crowd, which means you’re never OUT either!!
You build enormous resiliency and self-belief, you can sing your own song and sail your own ship excuse the metaphors), you have freedom to BE, and learn how you ‘tick’, without pressure to be someone else.
It’s because I felt I never ‘fit in’ that I’m comfortable standing out. I have the ability to see the world differently, and that allows me to help my clients do the same, to break free of conformity, and find their own ‘groove’. It takes courage to face the fear of possible judgement, criticism or being left out, but it’s worth the ‘risk’.
I’d argue it’s more of a risk to not allow yourself to be who you really are.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.
By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.
We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.
It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.
By Bronnie Ware
Thriving in the age of Trump!Thriving in the age of Trump
Mind the Gap!